How Jeff Bezos Called Amazon’s Customer Line In A Meeting To Make A Point

Jeff Bezos is one of the most successful CEOs in history, and he had an unconventional style which made him unique.

Jeff Bezos once called up Amazon’s customer service helpline in a meeting to disprove a metric that his team was presenting to him. “I have a saying, which is, when the data and the anecdotes disagree, the anecdotes are usually right,” Bezos said on a podcast. “It’s usually not that the data is being miscollected, but that you’re not measuring the right thing. If you have a bunch of customers complaining about something at the same time, and your metrics say they shouldn’t be complaining, you should doubt the metrics,” he added.

“An early example of this was we had metrics that showed that our customers were waiting less than 60 seconds when they called a 1800 number to get phone customer service. But we had a lot of complaints that it was longer than that,” Bezos recounted.

“And anecdotally, it seemed longer than that. I would call customer service myself. One day we were in a meeting, and we got to this metric in the deck. The guy who leads customer service (said the metric was correct). And I said, okay, let’s call,” Bezos said.

In the middle of the meeting at Amazon’s headquarters, Bezos dialed Amazon’s customer care number. “I picked up the phone, and I dialed the 1800 number and called customer service. And we just waited in silence for more than ten minutes, I think. Oh, wow. I mean, it was a long time. And so it dramatically made the point that something was wrong with the data collection,” Bezos explained.

“We weren’t measuring the right thing. And the (call in the middle of the meeting) set off a whole chain of events where we started measuring it correctly. That’s an uncomfortable thing to do, but you have to seek truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. You have to get people’s attention, and they have to buy into it, and they have to get energized around really fixing things,” Bezos said.